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The Elements of Style: The Art of Fine Furniture-Making in America Then and Now

Join leading scholars and some of the country's finest artisans for an afternoon of discussions and demonstrations on fine furniture-making in America from colonial times to the present. Offered in conjunction with the exhibition Duncan Phyfe: Master Cabinetmaker in New York, on view December 20, 2011–May 6, 2012.

Recorded January 22, 2012

"Classic Design: Duncan Phyfe and Historical Reproduction"
Explore how the history of American furniture design serves as inspiration for contemporary artists and craftsmen with Peter M. Kenny, Ruth Bigelow Wriston Curator of American Decorative Arts, and Administrator of the American Wing, The Metropolitan Museum of Art; artist Gord Peteran; and John Dunnigan, professor of furniture design, Rhode Island School of Design.

"Selling the Design: Business Models of American Craftsmen"
Investigate business strategies for artisans and the economy of production from colonial times to today with Edward S. Cooke, Jr., Charles F. Montgomery Professor, History of Art, American Decorative Arts, and Material Culture, Yale University, and furniture-makers Thomas Moser and Bruce Beeken.

"Live Carving and Sketching Demonstrations"
Observe furniture-maker Allan Breed demonstrate the precision of Phyfe-era carving; then watch furniture designer Matthias Pliessnig turn a sketch into a computer- modeled design for his steam-bent furniture.

"Tools and Technology from Phyfe to Today"
Consider historical furniture-making techniques and the possibilities of the modern toolbox with Allan Breed, Matthias Pliessnig, and Ethan Lasser, curator, The Chipstone Foundation.


The exhibition is made possible by Karen H. Bechtel.
Additional support is provided by The Henry Luce Foundation, Dr. and Mrs. Paul Cushman, the Americana Foundation, Mr. Robert L. Froelich, and Mr. Philip Holzer.
It was organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
The exhibition catalogue is made possible by The William Cullen Bryant Fellows of the American Wing.

Collections, The American Wing (31)

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The Making of a Bronze Statue
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Murder at the Met
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The New American Wing Galleries
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Teen Screens—Set in Stone
(00:04:00) 219 views

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New American Wing Galleries
(00:16:11) 4058 views

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The Electrotyping Process
(00:03:05) 3849 views